Powerful Strategies To Connect Your Website To Social Media

The key to standing out and succeeding over your competitors is by increasing your online presence. Most businesses take advantage of social media because it has become one of the useful and most powerful tools to let people know about your company, products and services.
A website that is prominently visible on search engines makes it easier to connect with potential consumers, thereby leading to a positive impact towards the business. What causes websites to rank higher than the rest depends on search engine optimization (SEO), although its main driving force is high quality content.
On top of these, you need to connect your website to social channels. In this article, I will share with you some tips and techniques to maximize social media for your website.
The Importance of Social Media

Social media has become a part of any online business. At least 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media, according to Social Media Examiner. With the help of social media, it has helped businesses in a number of ways, namely:

Increase brand awareness. Companies that are visible on social media are exposed to more people.
Improve brand loyalty. Customers who are engaged by companies through social media have a higher probability of becoming more loyal to the brand.
Convert a casual site visitor to a paying customer
Increase conversion rates. Through social media, consumers are able to get closer to the business. Moreover, leaving a comment on a post or sending a private message allows them to create a connection with the business. This causes a consumer to feel valued, which then becomes a launchpad to make them loyal customers, provided that consumers are treated properly.
Increase inbound traffic. Social media accounts provide information about your company’s website, thereby allowing the audience to be redirected to the website should they need to find more information.
Bring down marketing costs. Since creating social media accounts is practically free, it becomes a channel of providing information about the products and services of a company without having to worry about paying someone to publish each post.
Accept feedback. Social media allows a business an opportunity to gain information that can be beneficial for the company by letting the consumers express their experiences or provide any suggestions, which can be useful for the improvement of the company.

How To Connect Your Website to Social Media

These days, more companies and businesses utilize social media to connect to as many people as possible. Picture this: every time customers like your content or leave a comment on your post, all of their friends will be able to see this activity on their news feeds. That one like or comment can already do wonders to your company’s online exposure.
To optimize your website presence through social media, here are several techniques that can be helpful:
Embed video
More than just wanting to look at a still picture, making use of videos can stir up interest among your audience. Videos provide more information, which allows the audience to understand your products or services more.
It becomes more effective when you use videos to provide tutorials that the audience can watch anytime they want, no matter how many times they want. Create videos that are share-worthy – something that would instantly drive your audience to share the content with their friends.
Leveraging Social Proofs
Ever since social networking sites came into existence, it has somehow become any consumer’s guide before buying any product. It’s one way for people to check whether the item is worth their money.
One social media feature that potential consumers look for are product reviews. Being able to check on ratings or reviews left by other previous customers is extremely helpful. This is the reason why a lot of social influencers offer their services to write about a company’s products, to let consumers know their experience.
Social Logins via Business Website
User engagement is a surefire way to grow consumer loyalty, and this is usually achieved through community boards, forums, chat rooms, ad comment boxes. Another rising trend in welcoming feedback and encouraging online discussions is through the use of social login.
Social login is an amazing feature for any website. It optimizes user experience since site visitors do not need to create a new account in order to log in to your website. Instead, all they need to do is to log into their social media account, so that they can instantly engage with current conversations and interact with other online users.

Integrate photos on your website design
Images and full-sized photos have become a go-to design trend for websites these days, and the same is true with social media. For example, a restaurant website may post a photo of its best-selling dish on Instagram. This kind of photo should be taken with proper lighting and positioned in a way that makes any visitor drool over the dish.
A good way to connect your site to social media is by adding a featured image or an Open Graph image to your webpages. This way, when you share your site link on social media, the photo gets displayed as well.
Source out pictures that can easily catch the attention of the audience, skipping selfies and instead focusing more on what the business offers.
Using the Share Button for Social Media Sites
This is a simple but absolutely effective way on how you can spread the word about your online existence. Provide compelling content on your website that can instantly trigger visitors to share it through their social media accounts. Then, add social media share buttons on your pages, to make it easier for visitors to share your content.
You will be surprised at how much traffic it would bring to your website.
Final Word
Business owners in the past may not be as successful as today’s generation of entrepreneurs in terms of promoting their brands. What’s great is that as web technology improved over the years, more online businesses have better shots at success. As long as they are always aware of the latest trends in social media and web development, success isn’t too impossible to achieve.
The post Powerful Strategies To Connect Your Website To Social Media appeared first on Web Designer Hub.
Source: http://www.webdesignerhub.com


What to do about Dr. Google

Almost from its very inception, the Internet has been used as an essential source of medical information. Patients have become avid researchers, no longer relying only on their doctors’ advice. They feel both empowered and overwhelmed by the data at their fingertips. While healthcare professionals respect their patients’ desire to become advocates for their own well-being, they are often concerned about the validity of the information informing their patients’ decisions.
There exists an opportunity for healthcare organizations to not only provide accurate, valid, and useful information to patients, but to extend their branding and create additional opportunities for meaningful interactions that wouldn’t otherwise exist.
According to Google, 84% of patients use both online and offline sources for hospital research, with these searches driving nearly 3 times as many visitors to hospital sites compared to non-search visitors. The good news is that, according to the same article, patients are turning to hospitals first and foremost for information (83%) vs. health information sites (50%) or health insurance company sites (54%).
Is your website up to the task? Why shouldn’t you be the place they visit on the Internet, not just in the office?
So how do you go about becoming the go-to destination for care online too?
Before you do anything else, you need to develop a strategy.
Delivering reliable and useful healthcare information means more than simply publishing research studies online and posting doctor profiles. It is critical that any healthcare systems intending to establish itself in the arena of online information begins with a strategy.
Not only should this plan account for the production and maintenance of this content (a content strategy), but should also factor in user engagement (UX strategy) and discoverability of data (an SEO Strategy), as well as the ability to drive efficiency and profit (a content marketing strategy). So how does one become a go-to source?

1. Recognize that user experience drives success. 
You need to embrace the fact  that you can advance your own success by serving the needs of your patients. I believe this approach is necessary, especially in the realm of healthcare, where providers must reconcile their mission to care for patients with the reality of economic pressures.
While healthcare may be rooted in altruism, even non-profits need to generate revenue to provide services. That demand, along with ever-increasing pressure on margins, necessitates the streamlining of services to gain efficiencies while maintaining (or even improving) the quality of care. Competition (and consolidation) among healthcare providers is forcing them to distinguish themselves from others. The Internet provides much opportunity to do so.
2. Define business goals, and develop content to support them. 
Your  organization’s business goals should be at the heart of all communications and tools. If a hospital’s patient satisfaction survey indicates, for example, that patients feel ill-prepared for scheduled medical procedures, the hospital can take measures to improve the patient experience through digital means. For example, a few days before being admitted, patients could receive:

A checklist via email or text
Links to registration forms, hospital maps, information about waiting rooms & visiting hours
A link to an educational video about their procedure, which they can watch on hospital’s portal (Note: 53% of patients who did not watch a hospital video were unaware they existed).  

In providing this content, the patient’s nerves are calmed and questions answered, thus reducing panicked phone calls to a number of departments in a desperate search for information.
Not only does the hospital raise patient satisfaction in this scenario, but also increases the efficiency of hospital staff by funneling communication into digital channels. When working in tandem, proper creation and delivery of content can support the larger goals of your  organization while serving the patient population.

3. Establish branding & messaging.

In addition to achieving the standard objectives that enable the operation of the organization, a health care system may have “softer” goals around branding or messaging.  It is important to note that according to a recent report by the National Research Corporation, 37% of patients say reputation and brand strength drives loyalty to a hospital or health system – more than recommendations from a doctor or from family and friends.
As health systems acquire diverse practices and merge with other hospitals, the need to establish your systems  as a place that is at once, small and specialized enough to provide personalized and warm care, yet large and state-of-the-art, can prove to be a conundrum.
An effective content marketing strategy can help establish an  identity in the community as a trusted and reliable health care provider. And a strong website that goes beyond the typical list of departments and contact numbers can amass more new patients simply because it seeks to interact with the patient in a meaningful way via this touchpoint, not just when the patient walks through the doors of the facility.

This strategy can only succeed if all parts of your  organization have been informed of the greater mission and coached to leverage this branding in all facets of patient care. Whether a person is dealing with staff in the Billing Department or the Emergency Department, there must be a cohesive patient experience, and a sense that every member of the team is there to make the patient’s life better.

4. Offer content that is accessible, and can be found and understood.
Studies report that patients who conduct searches on symptoms and treatments are often close to conversion. This should factor heavily into a hospital’s content and business strategy. It is critical that SEO best practices are employed to make this type of information discoverable to the average patient. With 43% of hospital traffic being generated by search, it is critical that content and metadata rely heavily on layman’s terms, not medical jargon.
Content should also be marked up with metadata that encourages interaction.  Rich snippets provide users with a preview of content within a search engine, while Facebook Open Graph tags & Twitter Cards enable content to be shared in a formatted manner that encourages clicks.
Once the patient has arrived at the website to read this trusted information, the user experience should encourage further engagement with the healthcare system. The website should contextually present related information, such as support groups, classes & events. It should also allow patients to easily connect with specialists, request appointments, and locate nearby facilities.
 
5. Create audience personas & map user journeys.
The aforementioned scenario suggests a new patient’s interaction with your content, but there is an assortment of users visiting a hospital’s website for a variety of reasons. Each of these needs to be taken into account when developing a content strategy to support their user journeys.
New & existing patients may have very different needs and take different paths to get to the services needed. The content and the UX should offer clear direction to allow for online booking of an appointment vs. disputing a charge on a medical bill, for instance. A relative grappling with a loved one’s diagnosis may seek information and support in a way that is very different from a remote doctor whose search for specialists in a rare conditions has led to your website.
Before any coding has begun and any content has been written, these audience personas and user journeys should be mapped so that the information can be presented in manner that guides visitors to the proper resources and enables interaction with providers.
6. Determine distribution channels.
This brings us to the next consideration: the distribution of content across channels.  According to the Pew Research Center, “The share of Americans that own smartphones is now 77%, up from just 35% in Pew Research Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership conducted in 2011.” With smartphones acting as a near-constant companion, the mobile experience needs to be at the forefront of a strategy. The user experience needs to be responsive, and content should be appropriately curated or edited for these devices.  
7. Enable creation, publication & governance.
This requires an investment not only in technology to manage information through content management systems or deliver it through personalization engines, but also in education of the patient care team that will lead to  wholesale change in an organization’s mindset.
If the digital touchpoints are developed to optimize the patient experience and reinforce the goals of the healthcare provider, then it is critical that the importance of all the factors discussed up to this point are communicated throughout the organization.
Proper training and governance enables business units to contribute content that is on point and deliver service that reflects the character of the organization that has been so carefully crafted.
In Conclusion
A carefully-considered strategy that invokes the principles of content management, user experience, marketing & SEO can enhance a health care provider’s digital presence, thereby establishing you as the go-to for both online and offline health care.
Learn more about leveraging digital strategies to strengthen your healthcare system’s digital presence!
 

Source: https://www.phase2technology.com/feed/


The Simplest (and Most Performant) Way to Offer Sharing Links for Social Media

This past summer, I wrote The Essential Meta Tags for Social Media about how developers can prepare web pages to optimize their appearance when shared on social media. But what about creating the links to let users share these web pages? Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer numerous ways to do this, some involving button generators and others that require external JavaScript. To avoid all of that, though, you can create your own links to share web pages. And the best part is that it’s simple to do yourself. Here’s how.

Basic Concept: Just a Link
When sharing web pages using links, you’re essentially submitting a GET request (i.e. clicking a link) to a URL provided by each social media service. Then, by appending a series of name/value pairs (query parameters like ?title=Title) to the end of this URL, you can specity the URL of the web page you want to share and, sometimes, additional information.
Now, certain symbols in GET requests known as “reserved characters”, need to be encoded properly so as not to interfere with normal browser functions. These characters are subject to “percent-encoding” – that is, they are represented in query parameters with a “%” followed by a two-digit hex code. These are the reserved characters and their percent-encoded equivalents.

!
#
$
&
'
(
)
*
+

%21
%23
%24
%26
%27
%28
%29
%2A
%2B

,
/
:
;
=
?
@
[
]

%2C
%2F
%3A
%3B
%3D
%3F
%40
%5B
%5D

Note: A space can be represented by “%20” or “+”.
Of course, there’s no need to memorize these hex codes. There are many resources that provide conversions (Bing has one built into the search engine) and, as you will soon see, JavaScript can also handle the heavy lifting in this regard. Let’s look at a few of the more popular social media services and learn how we can share web pages through them.
Facebook
Per their Developer’s Guide, Facebook specifies the following URL to submit GET requests when sharing a web page:
https://www.facebook.com/dialog/share
While there are four query parameters available, only two are required: the URL of the web page that you want to share and an App ID, which developers can obtain by registering at Facebook. If you don’t have an App ID, the registration process is not onerous, but there’s no need to bother when an even simpler solution exists.
Facebook’s original method of sharing web pages, without the required App ID, is no longer mentioned in any of their documentation, but it’s still supported. In fact, with countless web sites using this method, I can’t imagine it would be deprecated anytime soon. This URL is:
https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php
The only parameter available is “u”, which is used to specify the URL of the web page you want to share. Here’s an example that shares the home page of CSS-Tricks on Facebook – go ahead, cut-and-paste into a browser to see the result.
https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fcss-tricks.com%2F

As previously explained, the URL shared is necessarily percent-encoded. Also, note how “?” designates the start of the first query parameter. Subsequent query parameters are separated by “&” as will be seen shortly.
Twitter
Twitter refers to sharing a web page via URL as a Tweet Web Intent – the URL to use is:
https://twitter.com/intent/tweet
Unlike Facebook, where only the web page being shared can be specified, Twitter allows you to tack on some text and any number of hashtags. Users will have the opportunity to edit all of this before tweeting, but it gives them a head start in case they can’t be bothered. For example, let’s say you wanted to tweet the following information:

parameter
value

url
https://css-tricks.com/

text
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques on using Cascading Style Sheets.

hashtags
css html

The URL for that, with the query parameters percent-encoded and line breaks added for clarity, is:
https://twitter.com/intent/tweet
?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcss-tricks.com%2F
&text=Tips%2C+Tricks%2C+and+Techniques+on+using+Cascading+Style+Sheets.
&hashtags=css,html
And that gives you:

You’ll notice that Twitter pre-selects the text, which allows for easy editing by the user. And, remember, the tweet needs to be under 140 characters, so best not supply any copy that’s too long. In the interest of simplicity, I omitted discussing three lesser-used parameters, which can be found described in detail at Twitter’s Developers Documentation. These additional parameters allow you to specify the username associated with the tweet, suggested related usernames, and an ID of a related tweet.
LinkedIn
The URL to use when sharing on LinkedIn is:
https://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle
In total, there are five parameters available as detailed by this chart taken from LinkedIn’s Developers documentation:

Parameter
Description
Max Length
Required

url
The url-encoded URL of the page that you wish to share.
1024
Yes

mini
A required argument whose value must always be: true
4
Yes

title
The url-encoded title value that you wish you use.
200
No

summary
The url-encoded description that you wish you use.
256
No

source
The url-encoded source of the content (e.g. your website or application name)
200
No

In addition to the URL of the web page that you want to share, another query parameter called “mini” is required. But, as you can see, its value never changes, so we can hardcode that into the URL. To demonstrate, let’s share the following on LinkedIn:

parameter
value

url
https://css-tricks.com/

title
CSS-Tricks

summary
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques on using Cascading Style Sheets.

source
CSS-Tricks

This gives the following URL – again, line breaks added for clarity:
https://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle
?mini=true
&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.css-tricks.com%2F
&title=CSS-Tricks
&summary=Tips%2C+Tricks%2C+and+Techniques+on+using+Cascading+Style+Sheets.
&source=CSS-Tricks

While not mentioned explicitly in their documentation, if the “title” parameter is omitted, LinkedIn will grab this content from the Open Graph tag <meta property="og:title"> from the shared page. Similarly, if the “summary” parameter is omitted, the Open Graph tag <meta property="og:description"> is used. As for the “source” parameter, nothing in the documentation specifies how this value is used or displayed when sharing a web page – it looks as if it can be safely ignored.
Knowing all of this, if the web page being shared has the proper complement of Open Graph tags, simply specifying the URL will suffice as the “title” and “summary” parameters will be suitably populated.
Putting It All Together
Now that we know the syntax to use when sharing web pages on social media, how exactly can we implement this code? Perhaps the most common way is simply listing a group of sharing links styled appropriately with CSS:
<ul>
<li><a href="https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?..." target="blank"><img src="facebook-icon.png" alt="Share Page on Facebook" /></a></li>
<li><a href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?..." target="blank"><img src="twitter-icon.png" alt="Share Page on Twitter" /></a></li>
<li><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?..." target="blank"><img src="linkedin-icon.png" alt="Share Page on LinkedIn" /></a></li>
</ul>
The adding of target="_blank" in the anchor tag allows the sharing dialog to appear in a new window or tab, which works well on all devices, from desktop to mobile.
But hard-coding these links, with the percent-encoding of the query parameters, can be tedious and error prone. For any web page dynamically served by a CMS, this would be the perfect opportunity to have this data crunching performed on the server side and inserted where needed in the HTML.
Another option is to use the Social Media Sharing: HTML Links Generator that I created on CodePen. This allows you to enter any or all of the necessary parameters we’ve just reviewed, and it will output the appropriate HTML for you to insert into your own code.
See the Pen Social Media Sharing: HTML Links Generator by Adam Coti (@adamcoti) on CodePen.

As a freelance web developer working almost exclusively on the front-end, I’ve opted to use JavaScript/jQuery functionality that, without customization, works as a turnkey solution for my projects. This way, I can be assured that all sharing links will be properly handled, whether I’m working on a static web site, customizing WordPress themes, or handing off templates to be integrated into a CMS.
This is the HTML I use, with classes designating the particular sharing service. In the JavaScript, the function setShareLinks(), which attaches click events to the share buttons, is called when the Document Object Model (DOM) is ready:
<ul>
<li class="social-share facebook"><img src="facebook-icon.png" alt="Share Page on Facebook" /></li>
<li class="social-share twitter"><img src="twitter-icon.png" alt="Share Page on Twitter" /></li>
<li class="social-share linkedin"><img src="linkedin-icon.png" alt="Share Page on LinkedIn" /></li>
</ul>
function socialWindow(url) {
var left = (screen.width - 570) / 2;
var top = (screen.height - 570) / 2;
var params = "menubar=no,toolbar=no,status=no,width=570,height=570,top=" + top + ",left=" + left;
window.open(url,"NewWindow",params);
}

function setShareLinks() {
var pageUrl = encodeURIComponent(document.URL);
var tweet = encodeURIComponent(jQuery("meta[property='og:description']").attr("content"));

jQuery(".social-share.facebook").on("click", function() {
url = "https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=" + pageUrl;
socialWindow(url);
});

jQuery(".social-share.twitter").on("click", function() {
url = "https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?url=" + pageUrl + "&text=" + tweet;
socialWindow(url);
});

jQuery(".social-share.linkedin").on("click", function() {
url = "https://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?mini=true&url=" + pageUrl;
socialWindow(url);
})
}
The URL of the current web page is easily acquired by reading a property of the document object. And, for Twitter, the Open Graph tag <meta property="og:description"> conveniently provides appropriate content for a default tweet.
Now, at the request of some of my clients, I launch the newly formed URL in a specially sized secondary (pop-up) window by utilizing window.open(). On most desktop browsers, this window is positioned horizontally and vertically centered on the screen. Interestingly enough, if a user is logged in to their social media account, Facebook and LinkedIn will resize this secondary window to the necessary dimensions. Twitter doesn’t, so I use a default width and height that provides it with enough real estate. As far as responsiveness, tablets and mobile devices interpret the secondary window as a new tab. A demo of this functionality can be found on CodePen.
See the Pen Social Media Sharing: Automated Link Creator by Adam Coti (@adamcoti) on CodePen.
But using a pop-up window, while once common, is now frowned upon for accessibility reasons. A simple solution is to set the variable params to an empty string in the above JavaScript. Doing so launches the URL in a new window or tab depending on the user’s browser setting.
Conclusion
As the gruesome saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat. The above technique is simply my preferred method. You may have a better, more optimized way. Perhaps using data attributes in the HTML (to specify hashtags, for example) that can be read by JavaScript and appended as a query parameter where needed. Hopefully this can at least serve as inpiration for your own implementation.

The Simplest (and Most Performant) Way to Offer Sharing Links for Social Media is a post from CSS-Tricks
Source: CssTricks


A Little More than Just a "Like" Button: Facebook Announces New Site Changes at f8

For those of you who don’t live your lives inside the high-stakes realm known as DrupalCoin Blockchain web development, today marked Facebook’s annual f8 conference where CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced upcoming site changes and unveiled a wicked set of awesome new features.Read more